Sadler gears up Grade 1 stars for Memorial Day at Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Stable Notes
May 24, 2019 05:24pm

John Sadler has his charges standing at attention awaiting the command of “forward march" for Santa Anita Park's Memorial Day weekend lineup that features eight graded stakes worth $2.4 million in prize money.

Leading the trainer’s brigade of bluebloods is Santa Anita Handicap winner Gift Box, poised to capture the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) -- one of three Grade 1 events Monday. Sadler will be represented in each, with 20 of his horses are expected to be entered in all over the weekend.

“He’s doing better than ever,” Sadler said of Gift Box, who will reunite with Joel Rosario. “This should be his best race.”

The Gold Cup is for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter and will have another Sadler runner in longshot Higher Power.

Sadler, third in the trainer standings entering Friday with nine wins from 33 starts also has Catapult for the Shoemaker Mile (G1) on grass, and Ollie’s Candy for the Gamely (G1) for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

“Higher Power is a new horse for us,” said Sadler of the Medaglia d’Oro colt previously trained by Michael Stidham. “We’ll have Irad Ortiz on him.

“Catapult is doing great. He’s ready to go and hopefully he can win the photo this time,” alluding to the excruciating nose defeat inflicted by Ohio in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile March 30.

Sadler added, “There’s another good horse coming for the Shoemaker in Delta Prince,” owned by Stronach Stables and bred by the owner’s Eclipse Award-winning Adena Springs.

The Shoemaker is named for the late, great racing veteran, Bill Shoemaker, who was and remains the gold standard among jockeys 16 years after his death on Oct. 12, 2003.

The Shoemaker is the first Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race run in the U.S. this year, providing the winner with a fees-paid berth to the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Mile.  

Ollie’s Candy, previously trained by Bill Morey, makes her debut with Sadler in the Gamely.

“It’s her first start since last August in a really tough race with Rymska and Vasilika in there,” Sadler said of the 4-year-old Candy Ride filly who won her first three starts before finishing second by a neck twice, in the San Clemente (G2) and the Del Mar Oaks (G1).

Sadler's run begins before Monday.

On Saturday, Horse Greedy returns to the races in the Daytona Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf after a seven-month absence.

“He was a good horse last year for us,” Sadler said of the 6-year-old Horse Greeley gelding. “He ran some good races with some good numbers. He ran a good second going five-eighths on the grass."

Also Saturday, Cistron attempts to prove his front-running, runaway 5 ¼-length romp in the Kona Gold (G2) on April 20 was no aberration when he returns in the Triple Bend Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs. Prior to that, his 13 previous races were on the turf.

“We think seven-eighths is a good distance for him,” Sadler said.

On Sunday, Sadler sends out Ginger Nut in the Monrovia Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares 3 and up at five furlongs on turf.

“She beat 3-year-olds at Keeneland (on April 12, rallying from 12th and last going 5 ½ furlongs on turf) but she’ll be in against older in the Monrovia," Sadler said, "and it’s a bit early in the year for that, Sadler said, “but she’s got a really nice kick if there’s a good speed duel up front.”

“All our horses have been running really well, so we’re looking forward to this weekend.”


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